Tourism Authority Responds to Taxi Drivers Protest Concerns

May 17, 2017 in National

Lindsay Grant

Public Relations Official of the St Kitts Tourism Authority Saju N’Galla told Freedom Fm News desk on Wednesday morning that over 13,000 cruise passengers were dispatched to taxi operators at Port Zante over a two minute period compared to 2,000 dispatched to open safari operators over the same period.

N’Galla was responding to Tuesday’s drive through Basseterre protest organized by taxi drivers demanding their fair share from the Ministry of Tourism.

The tourism official recalled that the dispatch system put in place by the Tourism Authority in February 14, 2017 was a work in progress and not a permanent solution to the situation.

N’Galla pointed out that the pivotal and important point was for all stakeholders to receive their fair share from doing business at Port Zante.

It was the will of the Tourism Authority for all to benefit from the system put in place and revealed that over a period of two months operating the dispatch system, the taxi operators had received some 13 thousand cruise passengers compared to 2,000 for safari operators.

Meanwhile Basseterre, the St. Kitts capital on Tuesday witnessed its third protest action in the past nine days.

Disgruntled taxi drivers demanding their “fair share” from the Team Unity Government of Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris honked their horns and displayed placards demanding better treatment and accused the government of favouring the big tour operators.

Sylvester “King Socrates” Hodge claims that the new dispatching system implemented last February by Minister of Tourism, Hon. Lindsay Grant, is flawed and meetings with him have been fruitless.

“We are asking for a fair dispatching system at Port Zante for all the taxi operators and safari. There’s a system put in place since the February 14. It was an experiment found to be not the best arrangement for all,” Hodge disclosed that several fruitless meetings were held with Minister Grant and stakeholders are of the view that the system ought to change to the benefit of all.

“Our issue is they are waiting too long”

The taxi drivers are demanding one dispatching system for all. Hodge, who is a director on the St. Kitts Tourism Authority Board, pointed out that the “SKTA is responsible for the dispatching system and have the authority to dispatch the work evenly for everyone.”